Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gods And Goddesses: Huitzilopochtli

Huitzilopochtli is a sun god and the god of war. Referred to as “The Eagle” and whose name means “Hummingbird on the Left” or “Left-Handed Hummingbird”.
The goddess of the earth, Coatlicue, is said to have given birth to Huitzilopochtli (the sun) as well as Centzonhuitznahuac (the stars) and Coyolxauhqui (the moon).

Images of Huitzilopochtli usually show this god as a hummingbird or a man with a helmet of hummingbird feathers, having blue legs and arms, as well as having his lower half of his face blue while the upper half black. Huitzilopochtli images also usually depict him with a round shield and a snake.

Huitzilopochtli is the patron of the city Tenochtitlan, and a temple of the main pyramid was created for this god and many sacrifices were for Huitzilopochtli to feed him. It is said that Centzonhuitznahuac and Coyolxauhqui were jealous of Huitzilopochtli, so the “serpent of fire” was used by Huitzilopochtli to defeat  Centzonhuitznahuac and Coyolxauhqui.
From then on the stars and moon continued to battle the sun, with each sunrise considered by the Aztec’s as a victory of the sun over the moon and stars. This was why sacrifice to Huitzilopochtli was important, as he needs to feed to gain strength to defeat Centzonhuitznahuac and Coyolxauhqui during the night.

Panquetzaliztli, or The Raising of Banners, went from November 20th to December 9th and was the major festival of Huitzilopochtli, where the priests of this god would begin preparations for this festival forty days in advance. An image of Huitzilopochtli was made using seed dough, in which it would be used during the time of the festival.
Warriors who have been captured would be sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli (with those who captured the warriors fasting five days before the captives would have been sacrificed), the very people who were sacrificed would have sung and danced to those who captured them.

Another festival honoured Huitzilopochtli, Tlaxochimaco, or Birth of Flowers, went from July 23rd and August 11th where flowers would be offered to gods and ancestors. A sacrifice just for Huitzilopochtli occurred during this time.

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